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Dark Rye and Honey Cake: Festival baking from the heart of the Low Countries

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2023

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At the bakery, after the bread was baked, tart and unripe pears were stuffed onto the oven floor of a cooling woodfired oven and dried until they were wrinkly and dark (bakkemuizen). The pears were then soaked and stewed until they ended up as a luscious dark pear purée with great depth of flavour.

The only bakery that still makes vlaai with traditional bakkemuizen is Knapen in Flemish Limburg. The baker, Jack, seeks out heirloom pear varieties and dri